Source 4

Letter from the Office of the Superintending Aliens Officer (an office of the Home Office based in Liverpool) to the Home Office in London, 11 June, 1919. Catalogue reference: HO 45/11017/377969


June 11th, 1919.


H.M. Inspector.


Chinese Seamen


Mr Kirkham had an interview with the Manager of the Employment Exchange, Liverpool, but the result was not satisfactory. He was told that farmers would not, or dare not, employ Chinese and Negroes on account of the bitter feeling that at present exists, and in the Ormskirk District, Irishmen are also unacceptable. He added that the coloured problem is causing them a good deal of anxiety, and he ventured the opinion that ultimately the Government will have to repatriate these unemployable men.


There has been quite an outbreak of racial rioting in Liverpool during the last week, mainly directed against British Negroes. Possibly the outbreak is quite sporadic, but while the feeling lasts it will make it all the more difficult for coloured men of any kind to obtain work – or justice.


The attached cuttings are from today’s Liverpool Post and are of interest.




« Return to 1919 race riots

Look at source 4.

  1. Why was there a meeting between Mr Kirkham and the employment exchange?
  2. What do you think the writer means by ‘the coloured problem’?
  3. How does he suggest that this could be solved?
  4. Why are ‘Chinese and Negroes’ described as unemployable?
  5. Why is the employment of Irishmen described as ‘unacceptable’?
  6. What does this document infer about racial tensions in Liverpool at that time?